1. All our facilities hosting church volunteer teams coming to help rebuild the city are overflowing. A minister from Tennessee called me this week. “Dr. Harold Bryson said you might be able to help us. We were headed for the Mississippi Coast to help with a project that we understand has been canceled. We’re coming Sunday. There are 40 of us.” I called Bob Christian at Hopeview in St. Bernard Parish. He said, “Joe, we can host 150 people here, and we have over 200 coming next week.” I knew the NOAH Volunteer Village was in the same situation, so made a call to FBC Norco. Pastor’s wife Rose French said, “We have 20 bunk beds and have accommodated as many as 28, but tell them to come on. We’ll take them.”
2. Yesterday, the Louisiana Road Home program met with hundreds of applicants for grants in a feeble attempt to reach 10,000 for the month. They hoped to give out 900 grants yesterday. People were standing in long lines in the hot sun–but if they were successful, most felt it was well worth the wait.
3. The Essence Music Festival is in town this week, expecting to draw in 200,000 visitors. This is an African-American event, sponsored by Essence magazine, and takes over the downtown with motivational speeches, sermons, gospel groups, and practically every black entertainer worthy of the name. New Orleans has hosted the festival for many years, but they relocated to Houston last year due to Katrina. We’re glad to have them back.
4. The bridge spanning Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans East to Slidell is being completely rebuilt. The present bridge, which is only 8 feet above the water level, was swamped and destroyed in places by Katrina’s surge. This bridge is being constructed 30 feet above the water and using state of the art technology, we’re told. At $800 million, it’s the largest construction project ever for Louisiana.
5. Jefferson Parish councilman Louis Congemi wrote an explanatory letter to the editor this week. He says he’s not against the taco trucks that proliferated after Katrina. He says there’s no law keeping a truck from pulling up to a place of business and parking for an hour and selling its goods, then moving on. But if the truck is going to settle down to a permanent location, they need a permit and bathrooms.
I’m headed to Nauvoo, Alabama, to visit my parents for a couple of days prior to the Fourth. And so proud at the age of 67 I’m still able to do that. Mom turns 91 on July 14 and Dad hit 95 last April.
My brother Ron is trying to get 91 cards and notes to Mom for her birthday. Want to send her one? The address is Lois McKeever, 191 County Road 101, Nauvoo, Alabama 35578. Thank you.